A big problem for the researchers and students coming from outside the EU/ETA countries has been that when universities employ early stage researchers they do not usually give employment contracts for the whole four years. This means that these early stage researchers had to apply for their residence permits several times, as a researcher’s residence permit is only granted for the duration of the employment contract.
Another very significant problem was related to different types of residence permits. If a person coming from outside the EU/ETAEEA countries was writing their dissertation as a student, without an employment relationship with the university, they were entitled to live in Finland under a student’s residence permit. Once the person completed their doctoral degree, they were granted a new, one-year residence permit to find employment.
By contrast, when a person from outside the EU/ETAEEA countries did their dissertation under employment, they were granted a researcher’s residence permit only for the duration of their employment contract. Once that person completed their doctoral degree, they were not entitled to the one-year residence permit to search for work as the students did. If they did not already have a new employment contract or funding, their residence permit would not have been renewed and they had to leave Finland.
The Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers have found this matter especially challenging throughout the years and have been very active in pursuing improvement to the status of the researchers and students coming from outside the EU/ ETA area.
Residence permits for researchers and students from outside the EU will be extended and job-seeking and entrepreneurship will be encouraged through a residence permit granted for these purposes from September 1. 2018.
The goal of the new act implementing the EU Directive on students and researchers is that most students completing their degrees in EU countries would stay and work in the Union. With the act, all researchers will receive a researcher’s residence permit, irrespective of whether they are in an employment relationship or, for example receive a grant. This residence permit will be a continuous residence permit, which is granted for a maximum of two years. The extended residence permit will be issued for a maximum of four years.
All students will continue to be granted a temporary residence permit, but as a rule, it will be issued for two years instead of one year if the conditions for granting the residence permit are met throughout the stay. The extended permit will also be issued for up to two years at a time.
text Mia Weckman
lawyer, the Finnish union of university researchers and teachers
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